Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blues players react to hit on teammate Alex Pietrangelo

Did the team lose some morale when Pietrangelo went down?
To be honest with you, I didn't even see him go down. I didn't even know he got hurt. I was kind of in my own little world out there a little bit. Hopefully, he's alright. I'm sure we'll see in the next few hours here what's going on. He's a big part of our team, but we have a lot of guys itching to get into the lineup, too, so if he can't go, I'm sure guys will step up.

Can you elaborate what he means to the team?
He's done it all year, a leader on and off the ice just on what he does, how he prepares and when he goes out there, what he accomplishes. He's a big part of our team, but we have to step up for him and play for him if he can't go.

What did you think of the hit?
I saw it in real time. I didn't see any replays. I really can't comment on whether it was legal or illegal. It's up to the league. If they find it illegal, they'll do something about it. If not, we keep playing.

How do you manage not letting emotions get the best of you in that situation?
That's what playoffs is about ... managing your emotions. You just play hard. Obviously you're not going to go out there and take penalties on the guy that took out your best player. You go out there and if the time is right, something will happen. That's one of those things where they try to take you off your game and the team that unravels is the team that loses. We're not going to do that.

How different are you without him on the ice?
We're definitely different [without Pietrangelo]. There's guys that have to step up and eat some minutes and play well. He's definitely a part of our team. That's what playoffs is about, too. It's stepping up and having different guys plugging holes and going through a lot of your lineup and reserves.

Did it affect the lineup losing him and thoughts on the hit?
It was a bad hit, unfortunate, but we can't think about that. We've got to prepare ourselves and move onto the next game.

Is it hard to look past it a 3rd-4th line guy taking out your top defenseman?
We can't think about that now. What happened, happened. We've got to move on and play even harder the next game.

If Pietrangelo can't play, what needs to happen?
We'll worry about that when it happens. Right now, we'll see what the result is if he's expected to play or not. Until then, we have guys capable in here that are capable of stepping in. We've dealt with injuries to key guys all year. We're going to have to do it again if he can't play.

How does it change if he's out?
Obviously it's going to be different with him not being out there, but whoever steps in with me is going to have to step in and do the job. The biggest thing is is to have great communication, help each other out, keep things simple and do things right.

Thoughts on the hit?
It wasn't nice to see. It wasn't a hit that you want to see someone take. It looked pretty vicious, but that's all I'll comment on that.

How do things change if you don't have Pietrangelo?
He means a lot to our team. He plays a lot of minutes, he plays in a lot of situations. He's a guy who can be a game-changer. If he's out, we can't just fold up tent and say it's over. We'll miss him, but we've got to find ways to fill his void. Guys like myself have got to step up and make sure that we're still getting the job done.

What happened?
When the hit happened and he played the next shift, I didn't think anything of it until I didn't see him in the third period. I knew it was pretty serious. I don't recall who hit him. Those are just moments in your game you hope you don't find yourself in. It's a questionable play if you ask me. Those are the types of things you try and eliminate from our game to make sure it's safer. I think they've done a good job of doing that this year. Who knows what's going to come from it. At the end of the day, if he's in our lineup or he's not, we've still got to find a way to win the next game.

What does it mean not having Pietrangelo if he's out?
Hopefully he's in the lineup but if not, we're going to have to push through. He's a big part of our team, but we're going to have someone else fill that role and take some responsibility. We've been filling holes and taking more responsibility all year. This is no change.

What are your thoughts on what happened?
A guy's numbers ... you're hoping there's no intent there, but when it's third-line guys finishing our best defenseman, he sees nothing but numbers and all of the sudden there's two guys piling on there, it looks like there may be a little extracurricular but at the same time, I hope none of the guys in this league wish for injuries to try and hurt guys. We'll see what happens. Hopefully, there's a respect factor that needs to return to the game from all aspects. I think if that's back, our game's going to be better than it ever has been.

What does it mean if he's lost?
He'll be a void there, but we're going to have someone else that's chomping at the bit to get in the lineup working to make a difference. He's a key part of our team, but we're going to have to move on without him. It's the way injuries happen. It'll make us a better team on the other end if we get through it.

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